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    • Profile PhotoIsam
      Participant
      @isams123
      Post count: 11

      Hello All, @independant-consultant @lin-carson

      I hope you’re doing well. My approach to launching my frozen “Focaccia-like” pizza is to get pre-sales from local stores then use the commercial kitchen to make the frozen pizza thereafter. I have spent much time and now make the product perfectly at home; however, would you please advise on most efficiently making the product at the commercial kitchen? I have visited and chosen the kitchen and have specific questions below. Your advice is highly appreciated..thanks in-advance.

      Equipment at the Commercial Kitchen and Specific Question are below (equipment are in order):

      1. Hobart Mixer (8-60 qt available) OR Marra Mixer (Italian mixer specially for pizza dough)

      Question 1: Does it really matter which mixer I use? From your experience do you recommend Hobart or Marra? Why?

      2. Divider/Rounder

      Question 2: unfortunately the commercial kitchen doesn’t have one. Clearly this helps with time and product consistency. Do you think it is worthwhile to invest in one?

      3. Doyon Double Door proofer 

      Question 3: I usually proof my dough for 90 minutes inside a microwave or an oven. Do you recommend using this proofer or that I continue to use same method? why?

      4. Table Top Reversible Dough Sheeter

      Question 4: this equipment is very manual; based on the online videos I have seen, nobody seems to use it for pizza dough so I have no reference (even the owner never saw anyone use it for pizza). Maybe I can figure out a way to sheet it 1-way for x times then rotate it)..Do you recommend I use this inefficient sheeter or my hands like usual? I have seen other sheeters used (like Doyons Counter Roller) but not this table top manual one.

      5. Doyon Revolving Rack Oven OR Convection Oven (for Par-baking)

      Question 5: I have always par-baked my pizza at home using a Conventional Oven (and it took me a loong time to get the right temp and time…500C, on a stone, 2 mins). Now that these options are present, what do you think is best? Also, I still am not sure how I will add stones to vertical racks on the revolving oven. Also, the rotating oven has an option to add steam…would that be helpful when par-baking the pizza? Which oven is best for par-baking?

      6. Traulsen Smart Chill – Blast Chiller/Freezer

      Question 6: I am not sure how this will impact the integrity of my product but I will plan to use it before shrink rapping the 12” pizza and packaging it and storing it in the freezer before it gets shipped the next day. Would it be better to skip this blast chiller and go directly to the shrink wrapping part after I add the toppings?

       

      It took me a long time (almost a year) to master the product at home (from topping, to dough, to ingredients, to par-baking, and freezing, etc.)…I can’t do this at the commercial kitchen since it is super expensive. Please advise regarding my questions on how to most efficiently do the frozen pizza process at this commercial kitchen. I will be hiring someone locally to work with me during these 8-hr shifts but they aren’t frozen pizza production/process experts. Also, if you have advice regarding my “pre-sales” approach to get high quantities before using the kitchen, please let me know. Any advice is valuable.

       

      Thanks and I look forward to hiring your full services once I advance my product to my own production site in the near future!!!

       

      Looking forward to your input.

       

       

       

       

       

    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      Hello Islam, this is an interesting challenge indeed.  If you don’t mind, I will also comment that this is also a lesson in product development research.  First allow me to respond to your questions and then comment further.

      1. Mixer: the difference between the mixers will be efficiency, and or dough temperature.  If the Marra is a fork mixer, it is gentler, Les friction, and less heat development.  If the Marra is a spiral, it is quicker, more aggressive gluten development, with increased friction and heat development.  Both are good dough mixers, and one needs to be aware of the friction input for desired end results.  The Hobart mixers are good mixers as well, and generally a little less efficient for dough mixing.  If the batch size is too small for the Marra type of mixer, then a Hobart with a dough hook is the best option.  For focaccia or pizza dough I would generally prefer the Marra type of mixer.
      2. Divider Rounder: depends on volume.  For 100-150 per day it is likely not worth the investment, even though convenient.  An experienced baker can manually cut and weigh that many dough pieces in 10-15 minutes tops.  Of course if you plan on 1,000 or more daily or each run, it could be worth investing in.
      3. Proofer: this will be better consistency and provide more control than you home method.  Proofing times may be slightly shorter.  For focaccia I would target 85-90°F and 80-90% humidity.
      4. Reversible Sheeter: A low stress dough line would be best for focaccia, but that will have to wait until you have enough volume momentum.  Yes, you can simply turn the dough 90° as you reduce it.  It seems like your best option for throughput and consistency at the moment.  You will want to try and accomplish this with 2-4 passes maximum.
      5. Oven & Baking: To stay with stone hearth baking you would need a deck oven, tunnel oven, traveling oven, or revolving shelf oven with stone hearth baking surface.  In the convection rack oven, perforated pans may be the best option, if available.  You may have to preheat to 550°F, and will have to test it out.  A large load is going to give off a lot of its own steam that you may be trying to evacuate out of the oven for even par-bake.  I don’t think steam will be beneficial to you, unless you are trying to keep the partake softer and less color.  Keep in mind, that when you inject steam in to the oven, the temperature can drop as much as 200°F, depending on how much steam you use.
      6. the quicker you can freeze the better you will preserve product quality and freshness.  Definitely freeze before packaging.  Ensure you can pack quickly and make sure case sizes are still all frozen when you return to the freezer for holding.  Don’t try and fill a pallet and then put in the freezer.  If they thaw while packing and stacking on a pallet, it will take several days to freeze again.

      Obtaining pre-orders is a common practice.  With a new product some retailers may only be willing to do initial test marketing with select locations, before committing to any regular orders.  Be prepared to provide some free or heavily discounted product for sampling and promotions.

      Lastly I would like to comment here on the product development and research process.  It is important to understand impasses and limitations, before you paint yourself in to a corner.  What is available in reach for your startup, or do you have enough investors lined up to custom build a plant to suit your process?

    • Profile PhotoIsam
      Participant
      @isams123
      Post count: 11

      @independant-consultant,

       

      Thank you so much for your answers, I truly appreciate it. For proofing, what would you recommend for a normal frozen pizza that has spices as a topping instead of meat/cheese (my product is closer to frozen pizza than foccacia dough, I see your recommendation was based on foccacia dough, sorry I miscommunicated). Another question, can a hearth baking surface be installed to a revolving shelf oven? I guess I would need to buy those separately for each shelf? (I plant to use that oven since it is much bigger). And yes, I plan on par-baking, cooling for couple of ~5 mins, inputting toppings, then wrapping, then immediately blast chilling.

      To answer your question, I do not plan on custom building a plant since my product is not unique – it is a frozen pizza with spices on top instead of cheese and meat. When I start selling at a national level I will possibly plan on seeking investors and building my own plant.

      Another question; to confirm the exact capacity and move production from house kitchen to commercial so I can begin selling, I am seeking an experienced production baker with experience in the dough/frozen pizza operations. Where can I find such production bakers? any resources you recommend?

    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      @isams123 our pleasure.  This is what the BAKERforums are for.

      For proofing the temperature would be the same, for the pizza crust you are producing, less humidity would be needed.  70-80% R.H. Would work well.  Your proof may not be very long, and you just do not want it to dry out.

      Yes, I am sure you can purchase stone hearth sheets for a revolving shelf oven.  I have not dealt with this in over 20 years and do not know where you can find these commercially.  It can get quite expensive.  Hopefully the community can help!

      If the bakery you locate bakes breads or pizza directly on a Steele hearth in a shelf oven, you might want to test that first before committing to a big investment.  As for finding a bakery, it can be a challenge especially in these socially distant times.  Networking through local business groups can be very helpful.  What region are you located in?  If I have some contacts there, perhaps I can refer you for support.

      Please do keep the questions coming!  Community; please share your experiences as well.  Thanks!!

       

    • Profile PhotoIsam
      Participant
      @isams123
      Post count: 11

      @independant-consultant, thanks!

       

      I am in NYC, would be great to connect with local business groups. I have been speaking with local advisors and trying to find my way into networking events..been tough.

      I guess this would be an example of a stone hearth sheet that would go on top of a revolving shelf oven for each rack?

      (https://www.webstaurantstore.com/amana-st10c-pizza-stone/140ST10C.html?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping&gclid=Cj0KCQiAhs79BRD0ARIsAC6XpaXQl0UmwIEzjvnlVKILn211aiBL-uAF3nlt1zbonXUekoPp1YyYy3QaAicOEALw_wcB0

    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      Hello @isams123,

      I can imagine it is very tough networking in NYC these days with the pandemic cautions.  I will inquire for you with the Research Chef Association. http://www.culinology.org  There is a New York City chapter that is fairly active.  Keep plugging away at business groups and associations for help there too.

      The type of stone hearth sheets you want to be looking at for a revolving shelf oven are more like this:  https://www.bakeryequipment.com/productdetail.php?ProductID=24648

      These heat up faster, are not as expensive an outlay, and are easier to handle, if they need to be removed between production runs.
      I hope this is helpful information to you, and please do keep us posted on your progress and questions – Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Profile PhotoMark Floerke
      Keymaster
      @independant-consultant
      Post count: 223

      @isams123 here is a contact you can look in to. Most commercial opportunities for you will be outside of the city.

      Rebecca Kasapov <[email protected]>

      Kasa Foods

      15 McFadden Road

      Easton, PA 18045

    • Profile PhotoIsam
      Participant
      @isams123
      Post count: 11

      <span class=”atwho-inserted” contenteditable=”false” data-atwho-at-query=”@independan”>@independant-consultant</span> – thank you so much for the info and assistance. I will look into the stone hearth and contacts. Do you have any suggestions for finding part-time production bakers? I posted a job on craigslist but anywhere else you recommend? specifically for ones experienced in frozen dough / frozen pizza

      I hope you have a great holiday season.

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